THE SCHIATTARELLA EPIC STORY
OF THEIR AMERICAN DREAM
Welcome to our family-owned restaurant! Three generations of our family have labored hard to bring you authentic Southern Italian recipes and a warm atmosphere. In 1971, a one-window pizza shop was the beginning of a new life for Anna and Guido, a poor Italian immigrant couple and their four children. Forty-five years later, Mama Mia’s 44 SW continues to be a home and dinner table for all who walk in. Pre-dating the modernized Time Square, Anna and Guido Schiattarella acquired Mama Mia's in what was then Hell’s Kitchen. Gritty and thuggish, Hell’s Kitchen was home to poor, working class immigrants, gangsters, hoodlums and other “less than favorable” inhabitants. On a handshake, Anna (“Mama Mia” to most) and Guido bought the one-window pizza shop from a Naples acquaintance. The pizzeria represented The American Dream for the Schiattarellas, who had just crossed the Atlantic on the “Raffaello”— a rusty, sluggish ship that offered passage to a new world, and hope for so many Italian immigrants. With Guido’s iron determination from years in the Italian military, and Mama Mia’s culinary skills (which came naturally to the women of her family), they embraced the chance.
Every day they would work for hours preparing and cooking, then open their doors with pride to neighbors and customers. The clientèle quickly expanded to include starving up-and-coming actors/actresses, and performing artists, all attracted to homemade meals at reasonable prices. Like most businesses on Ninth Avenue in the 70’s, Guido would barricade the pizzeria’s door at dusk as Anna and their children Cristina, Consiglia, Michael Angelo and Carlo scrubbed and prepared for the next day. Despite endless challenges from the gritty underworld of Hell’s Kitchen, Guido and Mama Mia persisted and transformed the pizzeria into an authentic Italian Restaurant and Bar. They expanded the menu with homemade Italian recipes from Anna's family – also successful restaurateurs in Italy. Over the years, Hell's Kitchen was transformed into a must-see tourist attraction, and Mama’s children began running the business. And to this day, every day you will find a member of the Schiattarella Family here to serve you. As one of the few remaining family-owned restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen, we are eternally grateful for customers and friends and look forward to serving you again soon!